Tailgate like a pro with games on the go
By Joe Kukura
NASCAR fans know how to have fun. After all, they spend most of their time at the racetrack tailgating and having a good time. Experienced tailgaters know how to make the most of this time by setting up elaborate campsites and BBQ spreads, while playing wild and crazy games that can be enjoyed by the whole family or of the adult-only variety involving drinking.
And why not? Dover International Speedway, for example, is a BYO food and drinks facility. In fact, they encourage it.
With that in mind, we take a look at some tailgating games that are hugely popular amongst the NASCAR demographic. We’ll start in family-friendly fashion with the low-octane games that don’t have to necessarily involve drinking, and then kick it up a notch and spike those competitive juices with some games that entail putting a few back.
Cornhole: Cornhole is king at NASCAR, at least until the race begins. Cornhole is such a popular tailgating game that in some parts of the country, the game is actually called “Tailgate.” The beanbag toss has had a bit of a revival in recent years, and today, many NASCAR-goers will trick out their boards and bags with the colors and numbers of their favorite drivers and/or logos of the sponsors. And maybe the best part about cornhole is that it’s easy to double-fist while playing: beanbag in one hand, drink or hot dog in the other.
Spikeball: As seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, Spikeball is the hot new game that’s sweeping the nation and now taking over NASCAR tailgating parties. Up to four players gather around a small circular net and spike a foam ball at each other without letting it hit the ground. The game is so much fun that the score doesn’t really matter. For an added challenge, try playing with a drink in your hand. Spill it and you’re out. And then you’re on drink duty to fetch the next round.
Horseshoes or bocce: If you’re just kicking back at the track for a couple of days then these two classic outdoor games never get old and are the true inspiration behind cornhole and ladder ball. Both are traditional tailgating games ideal for camping and RVing (Dover has more than 3,500 RV lots spread across the Monster Mile). All you need is a spacious grassy area for bocce and a patch of dirt or sand for horseshoes. Neither game is very demanding and allows for singles or team play.
Ladder ball: Also known as ladder toss or ladder golf, this is another game that’s great for both kids and adults. You toss two rope-connected balls known as bolos onto a small ladder contraption and get points for whichever bolos wrap around the steps of the ladder. Just like with cornhole, you can make your own ladder ball out of broomsticks and PVC pipes. Use black and white tape to wrap the poles like a checkered flag and tie a banner to the base of the ladder to display some NASCAR pride.
Slip ‘n Slide: There’s no denying how much fun a Slip ‘n Slide can be for the kiddies, especially during a scorcher of a weekend at NASCAR. But don’t act like you won’t want to use it too. Another perfect fit for camping, Slip ‘n Slides are fully functional anywhere there’s grass. Some come equipped with elaborate sprinkler systems, so you’ll need a nearby power source or a generator. For RVers, that shouldn’t be a problem. Otherwise, just lay down the mat, add water and start slip slidin’ away.
DraftKings fantasy draft: If you’re not familiar with DraftKings, they are the new kids on the block when it comes to fantasy sports. NASCAR has partnered with DraftKings to be an official daily fantasy sports partner developing its own NASCAR-branded games. It is the perfect way to engage competitively at the track with your friends and other NASCAR fans, with the chance to win carloads of real money.
Here’s how it works: Each player drafts a roster of five drivers with $50,000 of Monopoly money ($50,000 divided by five drivers). Teams earn points based on place differential, fastest laps, laps led, pass differential and finish position. You even have the ability to create your own league with your own scoring system and entry fee. All you need is a smartphone and your five drivers to race well for a shot at the checkered flag.
Finally, drinking games: Before you get started, you’ll need lots of 16-ounce plastic cups (think NASCAR colorways) and plenty—and we mean plenty—of cold beer on hand.
Let’s start with the undisputed classic, beer pong. Line up 16-ounce plastic party cups (how many is up to how much you want to drink) like bowling pins on a ping-pong table — or any flat surface — and pour a little beer into each and then try to land a ping-pong ball into one of them from one end of the table to the other. Rules vary, so do your research and pick what suits you best.
Flip cup is a team game where players chug beer from the cup first and then try to flip it upside down onto the table. Last team to flip all their cups loses. Slap cup is a bit more complicated, but it’s kind of like dodgeball, except with ping-pong balls and beer.
Your weekend at NASCAR should be all about fun and games, both on and off the track. And because it’s easy to get carried away for hours at the track, these games should help you pass the time like a professional tailgater.
Show off your skills by planning a trip to Dover Speedway when NASCAR returns from Oct. 2 to 4. Visit doverspeedway.com for different ticket packages.